• General

    What goes into the cost of a bottle of wine?

    As you exit your local wine store with a new bottle in your hand, do you ever wonder how much the winemaker actually profits from your purchase? The profit is dependent on the years of storage required and the grapes used, but for your average bottle of wine in the $15 to $30 region, a typical breakdown is shown below. What does that mean for your favorite vineyard? For that $20 bottle of wine, they are pocketing only around $1 in profit. There are those who cite this as a good reason to buy directly from the winery as they can keep more of the profit. Some smaller vineyards now only sell…

  • Wine Reviews

    2009 Guenoc Lake County Petite Sirah

    Each bottle of Langtry Estate and Vineyards carries on its label the image of a 300 year old bent blue oak. The tree symbolizes Langtry’s determination to make wines of great distinction and character. The vineyard is named after Victorian actress Lillie Langtry who purchased the ranch in 1888, making wine that she called the “greatest claret in the country.” The Petite Sirah smelled and tasted of raspberry and blueberries. Earthy with a long finish and spicy at the end. A bit tannic, I think it would be better in a year or two when it softens. Grapes: 100% Petite Sirah Alcohol: 14.5% Retail price: ~$18.00 From: Lake County, California

  • Wine Reviews

    2009 M. Chapoutier Les Vignes de Bila Haut

    Domaine Bila-Haut is owned by Michel Chapoutier with wines produced by winemaker Gilles Trullier. The estate is located in the Côtes du Roussillon of Languedoc, where vineyards were originally planted by Greek mariners in the 11th century. This region is blessed with hot summers, low rainfall and cool winters. Combined with a drying breeze, referred to locally as Mistral, the conditions are very good for grape growing. The cross on the label represents that of the Knight Templars which had a deep history in the region. Another  interesting label note – braille is imprinted on top of the label. A robust red from the south of France, this deep garnet red…

  • Wine Reviews

    2009 Château des Capitans Juliénas

    Georges Duboeuf is a well known negociant in the Beaujolais region. Taking part in the WineTwits Beaujolais tasting recently, I had the pleasure to try this 2009 Château des Capitans Juliénas from Georges Duboeuf. This vineyard surrounds a 19th century castle surrounded by centuries-old cedar trees. The name Capitan (“Captain”) comes from the strategic location of the estate. This wine was ruby with bits of cork (due to a bad job opening the bottle on my part!). Tart with fresh berries on the nose and a hint of cinnamon, this Beaujolais has ripe acids and a bit of pepper on the finish. Firmer  tannins than expected led to a pleasant finish. I think I’m going to…

  • Wine Reviews

    Let’s talk About … Rioja

    “In Spain, no matter if you make screwdrivers, at some point after you have saved a little money, the first thing you want to do is own a bodega. It is very important to the Spanish soul.” Yolanda Garcia, Bodegas Valduero as quoted in Karen MacNeil’s Wine Bible Rioja is a region in the north of Spain, with vineyards along both banks of the Ebro River. The Cantabrian mountains shield the region from cold northern winds. Summers are warm and sunny and winters are milder than those in the open regions of Spain. Rioja’s history Winemaking has a long history in Rioja, being on the Camino de Santiago where pilgrims…

  • General

    How American vines first destroyed and then saved Europe

    Ever wonder why you aren’t allowed to bring live plants to another country? The story of the phylloxera blight provides an excellent example of what can happen when non-native species are introduced in new settings. In the mid 1800′s, the great vines of Europe were being destroyed. Most French vineyards were completely wiped out within 20 years. What caused this widespread devastation? Phylloxera, a tiny root louse related to aphids, had taken a free ride across the ocean from the East Coast of the United States. The vineyards of Europe had experienced a powdery mildew fungus to which East Coast vines seemed resistant. As an experiment, vines were brought across…

  • Wine Reviews

    2009 Montebuena Rioja

    Due to weather conditions, 2009 is being hailed as a great year for Rioja. If this bottle is representative of what’s to come, I’ll admit I’m pretty excited. For just ten dollars, this wine delivers an excellent value and received a DOCa label, Spain’s top wine distinction. Ruby red in color with a spicy vanilla aroma, this Rioja is well balanced with soft tannins.  It delivers a classic blackberry and spicy tobacco flavor with a smooth finish. I think I’ll buy a few bottles and see how it develops over the next couple of years. Grapes: Tempranillo Alcohol: 13.5% Retail price: ~$10 From: Rioja, Spain